PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Gas prices are going the wrong way once again. A gallon of gas is back above $4 in many areas along the Gulf Coast.
Experts from AAA believe Russia’s war with Ukraine, increased travel and less fuel on the market are reasons for the volatile fuel market.
“I think you’re just seeing more volatility in the market, which is really what we’ve seen for all of 2022, especially after Russia invaded Ukraine,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman with AAA. “I mean, from a global perspective, there’s just less crude oil in the market than there was before the pandemic, and that’s putting upward pressure on prices.”
Average gas prices have jumped about 20 cents a gallon in Pensacola ($4.12) and Santa Rosa County ($4.15) since last month. In Okaloosa County (4.18), gas prices have jumped more than 30 cents a gallon since last month.
Despite AAA reporting Sunday that Pensacola had some of the cheapest gas in the state, residents say gas prices are still hurting their wallets. Averaging $4.12 for a gallon of gas, Pensacola ranks just behind Punta Gorda ($4.11) for the “least expensive” gas in Florida, according to AAA.
“It’s going up 10 cents, 15 cents at a time,” said Jeffrey Hurt, who was filling up Monday on the Tom Thumb at Navy Boulevard and Pace Boulevard. “Everything is too expensive. I don’t have much spending money anyway.”
Resident Tom Sailor said he doesn’t predict any relief in the immediate future.
“It’s probably going to go to $6 a gallon with everything you’re seeing on the news. The war doesn’t help. The economy doesn’t help so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Sailor said. “I don’t see prices going down anytime soon.”
Experts say summer travel could also impact prices at the pump.
“People are feeling really good about traveling; they’re eager to do so. They’re eager to return to some sense of normalcy, and that’s likely to translate to more trips, more time spent out on the road, more demand for gasoline,” Jenkins said. “With that increased demand for gasoline, that’s pushing prices higher because there is not as much gasoline available right now.”
Experts expect gas prices to stay about the same for now or go up even more as the fuel market’s volatility continues.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 7071 on Friday, which includes a one-month fuel tax holiday from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, “saving Floridians $200 million by lowering the price of gas by 25.3 cents per gallon,” a media release said.